Should 3D Movies Get Different Ratings?

When I reviewed “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” last month, I had no idea that I was sitting in a PG movie — at least by Swedish standards. The movie’s concept was simple enough for a toddler. In fact, I’m not sure if anyone over the age of 4 would actually appreciate that movie.

While I generally don’t check the ratings on films with talking animals, the folks at Cinematical say that the Board of Film Censors slapped a PG rating on the 3D version in Sweden, while the non-3D got the appropriate G. The sensors gave the movie that extra ratings boost because of the effects of the 3D on younger audiences.

“We had two teams watching the 2D and 3D versions,” said Board of Film Censors CEO Anki Dahlin. “Those who saw the 2D version did not experience the effects as strongly as those who saw them in 3D. The 3D effects were difficult for a 4-year-old to handle.”

This brings us to an interesting question: Should 3D movies get a higher rating than non-3D movies?

Of course, there are no studies to back up the claim that 3D will give kids headaches or a renewed faith in the Boogyman. At least there are no studies yet. The more interesting study, however, would be the effects that these differences have on box-office receipts.

As far as someone looking out for the well-being of the children, let’s forget the twitchy eye and kitty fur flying from the screen for a minute. In my own experience, it’s hard enough to get a 4-year-old to watch a movie. The same could be said for his attention-span with those sunglasses that he just had to have — and those have Mickey Mouse on them. Until those two things become less of a chore, I can’t see paying a premium to have my kid poking me through a 90-minute movie.

Also, it’s unacceptable to leave your kid in the car unattended. Who is dropping them off with a $20 in front of the movie theater?

Do you think the ratings system is justified or does it even matter?

Posted in 3D Movies

The Dangers of Stacking Projectors for Passive 3D

Installers will be required to create perfect alignment, account for lens shift and possibly deal with HDMI headaches in passive applications.

At first thought, the idea of utilizing two projectors to generate a 3D image seems like a very logical approach. After all, standard 60Hz projectors can be employed, on screen brightness is doubled and the application automatically benefits from redundancy for 2D applications.

The dual projector 3D design, however, is very complex and creates numerous hazards in terms of installation flexibility and overall experience.39e706a46ad531be-2a37fbd-12e4dc65ac5--4449-1547601184-w580h580

Perfect Alignment Required
First, consider the fact that both images must be perfectly converged on screen. Experienced installers will remember the days of converging CRT projectors and how difficult that could be. Expect the same, without the benefit of electronic convergence controls in each projector (as was the case with CRT projectors of days past).

Unless the installation includes accurate and costly warp engines, the ONLY way to converge two digital projectors is to do so mechanically with the use of lens shift. While a good alignment is possible, the corners are likely to be the most difficult to align between the two projectors.

Making matters more unpredictable … even the very best projectors on the market still suffer from some image shift as their light engines warm up.

Lens Shift
Second, with two projectors to install, neither can really take the position that optimizes performance and lens shift. Accept that lens shift, which allows the installer to mount the projector above the screen, will also need to be employed to converge the two projectors.

The practical way of mounting the two projectors is for one unit to be mounted slightly above screen center shifted upward, and the second unit to be mounted close to screen top and shifted downward. With both projectors mounted below the screen top, extreme caution must be used to avoid the light path hitting the back of the chairs, not to mention the head of an audience member.

Splitting the Signal Causes HDMI Headaches
Third, a two-projector 3D solution requires that the 3D signal be pre-processed and split, with left eye content going to one projector and right eye content going to the other projector. This requires not only additional hardware but also more complex cabling and switching. As of today, there are no retail processors available which can break down a HDMI 1.4a 3D signal to discrete left and right eye with HDCP handshakes.

Two Projectors Means More Costs
Finally – two projectors means more lamps to consider. Beyond lamp costs, the integrator will also have to monitor lamp life and performance in both projectors to ensure that content for one “eye” does not become brighter than the other.

So, what’s the solution to manageable, enjoyable 3D? A much simpler approach is utilizing a dedicated 3D projector which operates at 120Hz with compatible HDMI 1.4 inputs or dedicated L/R inputs. These units make installation and cabling much simpler with stunning results.

An Guest Editorial by George Walter, VP of home cinema at Digital Projection, which offers single-projector 3D solutions.

Posted in Projectors

Are 21:9 aspect ratio TVs the movie lover’s dream?

Home theater projector manufacturers, as well as the screen makers, have been touting the benefits of ultra-widescreen formats for years. These generally fall under the heading of cinemascope, and usually conform to the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. In projectors, additional lenses (with powered sleds to move the lens into place when needed) and screen masking systems are required to make the changes in aspect ratio.39e706a46ad531be-2a37fbd-12d7669cf6a-67e7-626598567-w580h580

Now a few TV companies are jumping into that format with 21:9 aspect ratio LCD TVs. The 21:9 format is a good compromise to fit most of the theatrical widescreen formats. These TVs should be fantastic for watching wide Blu-ray movies (by eliminating the black bars on top and bottom), but what about 16: 9 high definition sources? Do you want your black bars on the top and bottom or on the sides?

At the JVC booth we found the Cinema Xinema3D (pictured above), a 50-inch, 2560 x 1080 TV passive 3D TV with built-in Wi-Fi. There was little else in the way of information about this TV, other than the suggestion that larger models are also on the table.

The Vizio Cinemawide LCD HDTV also has a resolution of 2560 x 1080. This syle will be coming out in 50- and 58-inch sizes.  The 50-inch will use a 240 Hz panel while the 58 uses a 120 Hz panel. A 71-inch model is also in the works.  These TVs will use the passive 3D system with polarized glasses. One interesting side benefit of the ultra-wide TVs like this Vizio, is they have enough real estate allow you to navigate online apps while maintaining a full 16:9 image on the screen.


Philips Funai brought out its Cinema 21:9 TV, which is already on the market overseas. This 58-inch model wears the same resolution badge as the others, does 3D in the passive style and includes IPTV functions.39e706a46ad531be-2a37fbd-12d7669cf6a-6801148030533-w580h580 Today most 16:9 HDTVs 42-inches and up have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (a few 720p models are still on the market). The expanded horizontal resolution adds a lot of pixels, but the vertical resolution remains the same as other HDTVS. Because these TVs use the passive (also called pattern retarder) method of creating 3D, they’ll suffer the same loss in vertical resolution in 3D mode.

For film purists, the ultra-wide TVs should be a welcome treat. But for most average HDTV buyers, these sets create a problem. What to do with all that extra space when watching regular HDTV? It becomes a question of viewing habits, or which evil you hate most. I won’t pass judgment until I try one out for myself. The Philips model has received good reviews in the UK. Personally, I think a 50-inch ultra-wide is too small. It looks like a 32-inch TV that’s been stretched. But a 58-inch or even better, a 71-inch—that’s something I could live with.

Posted in 3D TV Articles